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Important reasons to avoid a criminal conviction

There are many reasons you may want to avoid a criminal conviction, which make it important for you to seek expert legal advice immediately if you have been charged with an offence. Reasons for trying to avoid a criminal conviction include:

  • A Court can take into account any previous convictions you have when sentencing you for an offence. If you already have a criminal record, you will be treated more sternly then a first offender.
  • A criminal conviction can affect your ability to obtain or retain employment in the public sector.
  • An employer cannot employ a person in child-related employment if they have been convicted of a serious sex or violent offence. Child related employment includes preschools, schools, hospitals treating children, baby sitting, sporting clubs, school bus drivers etc.
  • A conviction for certain types of offences (generally ones involving fraud or dishonesty) may prevent you from getting a licence as an auctioneer, travel agent, TAB operator, tow truck operator, builder, security guard, motor car dealer, or a private investigator. It might also stop you from being the director of a company.
  • Doctors, nurses, dentists, opticians and optometrists have to be registered and the relevant registration board may refuse to register a person on the basis of a conviction for an offence (Section 15 of the Medical Practice Act 1992 (NSW).
  • Many other professions also require applicants to be of good character (which would usually mean having no convictions). For example, section 11 of the Legal Profession Act requires a person to be of "good fame and character" in order to be admitted as a legal practitioner.
  • A criminal conviction can also affect a person's chances of obtaining insurance.You may be refused home and contents insurance if you have been convicted of an offence such as stealing, fraud or arson.
  • If you wish to travel to the United States and you have a criminal record, particularly if there is a drug conviction, you will need to provide details of the conviction and punishment when you apply for a tourist visa. Whether or not the tourist visa is issued depends on the nature and severity of the offence and punishment.
  • Travelling to other countries can also be difficult if you have a criminal record. When travelling to the UK for a holiday or business trip using your Australian Passport you do need to get a visa. However, if you have a criminal record you may be refused entry to the country when you arrive at the airport.

If you have been charged with an offence contact a criminal lawyer. It's very important to get the right advice early on. You can contact North Shore Criminal Law to speak to an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist on  (02) 9955 2298 or our 24 hour Emergency Service on 0400 44 64 24.